Reported cases of persecution and hate crimes against Christians in India have steadily increased by about 57 percent in the first two months of 2019, an advocacy group has warned.
The Evangelical Fellowship of India, the national alliance of evangelical Christians with over 65,000 associated churches, has sounded the alarm about the increasing frequency of attacks against Christians in India, the persecution watchdog outlet Morning Star News reports.
Although 2018 was a year filled with rampant violence and discrimination against Christians in certain parts of India, the EFI Religious Liberty Commission reports an increase in documented incidents of hate and targeted violence against Christians that occurred in January and February.
In the first two months of 2019, the EFIRCL documented 77 incidents of hate and targeted violence against Christians. By comparison, only 49 similar incidents were documented by EFIRLC in January and February 2018.
Among the incidents documented this year are the killings of two Christians, one in Odisha state and another in Chhattisgarh state.
Sixteen of the 77 documented incidents in 2019 occurred in Tamil Nadu state, while 12 occurred in Uttar Pradesh. Six took place in Maharashtra and five in Chhattisgarh. Four cases each were documented in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Kerala states.
One incident that took place in Uttar Pradesh was described by eyewitnesses who say that police officers disrupted a Sunday church service and arrested four women and two men. Among those arrested was a female pastor named Sindhu Bharti who was physically assaulted at the police station.
“Boiling tea was forcibly thrust in her mouth because the police thought that she was feigning her unconsciousness,” An eyewitness told Morning Star New. “When that did not work, they poured two jugs of cold water on her face, not caring that it was already severely cold due to winter.”
As for the men who were killed in Odisha and Chhattisgarh, EFI General Secretary, the Rev. Vijayesh Lal, told Morning Star News that both men were killed by members of the India communist party “because of their faith.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith